Despite an online report that states this weekend’s Ku Klux Klan fundraiser in the Sullivan area is nothing but a “scam,” city officials there continue to “hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”
Those were the words used by City Administrator J.T. Hardy on Thursday afternoon when he was contacted by The Missourian after a story appeared on “The Wire” website disputing the local KKK gathering.
“Our position hasn’t changed,” Hardy said. “We’re aware of the article on The Wire. Simply put, we can’t go off of that.
“We really have no new information to report.”
On Wednesday, The Missourian reported that Sullivan officials didn’t know if members of a Ku Klux Klan faction will be conducting a fundraiser in or around their city this weekend, but they were working with law enforcement just in case.
“Until the weekend comes and passes, we’re not treating this issue as a rumor,” Hardy said. “We’d rather be conservative and prepared than having it be the other way around.”
Earlier information posted on The Raw Story website indicated that the New Empire Knights announced last Friday it would be conducting a fundraiser on Saturday and Sunday somewhere in the Sullivan area.
The website also stated a so-called Imperial Wizard for the KKK, Charles “Chuck” Murray, sent an email soliciting funds for Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown on Aug. 9.
Brown was black. Wilson is white. The shooting has led to violent protests and arrests in that city.
That online posting led Sullivan Mayor Tom Leasor to issue a statement that was placed on the city of Sullivan’s home page on the Internet earlier this week.
“Recently, the city of Sullivan elected officials and staff were made aware by citizens and various media sources of a scheduled gathering of the Ku Klux Klan to be held in the Sullivan area,” the statement read. “City elected officials nor city staff is aware of the specific location for the gathering or have any details regarding the event.
“Furthermore, city of Sullivan elected officials or city staff cannot confirm if the event being discussed will be held inside or outside the city limits of our community. On behalf of the city of Sullivan elected officials and city staff, I want to emphasize that we have not, or will not, endorse or condone any activity based on hatred toward any ethnicity.”
The statement has since been removed.
Additionally, The Wire reported online this week that another so-called Imperial Wizard, Frank Ancona, said a fundraising email is in violation of the traditional Klan constitution.
It goes on to say that Ancona leads the Traditionalist American Knights, one of the largest branches of the KKK, approaching 10,000 members in the lower 48 states. Its headquarters are in Missouri.
The KKK is split into many smaller subdivisions, Ancona said, and often times, banished members of a larger branch will attempt to start their own. Ancona believes this is the case with Murray, who is not even known to the Traditionalist American Knights.
Also, Ancona believes Murray’s fundraising effort is a scam because technically, members of the Klan cannot speak with the media, let alone solicit their help with raising donations. All members sign an agreement that forbids conversations with the press. Only highly vetted officials interact with reporters, and even then, interviews are rare.
“This is not even a Klan member, they don’t even have their own legitimate website. It’s a scam, he is just trying to capitalize on the situation,” Ancona said. “The Klan is not out soliciting money. We do ask for donations from members for different events, we have dues, but this is not the case here.”
The Raw Story is an American online news publication that covers current national and international political and economic news. It describes itself as progressive, bringing attention to stories that it sees as downplayed or ignored by other media outlets. It is owned by Washington, D.C.-based Raw Story Media Inc.
The Wire describes itself as America’s leading destination for brave thinking and bold ideas that matter. It also says it is the source of opinion, commentary, and analysis for the country’s most influential individuals.